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Bengaluru and Delhi customs forbid clearing gifts

Monday 15 July 2019 | 02:24 PM CET

Courier terminals at Bengaluru and Delhi have stopped clearing parcels being shipped through the ‘gift’ route.

This stops the flow of ecommerce shipments from Southeast Asia and China which were being wrongly declared as ‘gifts’ to evade duties.

India currently allows individuals to receive free samples and gifts up to Rs 5,000 (around USD 70) in value via courier without paying any duties. There is, however, no cap on the number of gifts an individual can receive, which overseas ecommerce vendors have exploited.

Parcels under the CB-12 (gift and samples) route have been stopped at Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, while the customs port at Chennai is also considering similar action, senior customs officials confirmed to ET.

The move comes at a time when the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is considering amending the CB-12 rule to cap the number of gifts an individual can receive from abroad. The change, which was expected in the Union budget earlier this month, is yet to be made.

Customs officials also confirmed that the CBIC had sought their recommendations on how to curb ecommerce imports that were evading levies through the CB-12 and CB-13 route. With the crackdown on imports through the gift route, overseas etailers have been increasingly misusing the CB-13 low-value imports route.

Foreign ecommerce companies have been contracting local companies and setting up local units, which import ecommerce items destined for consumers in bulk, passing them off as B2B shipments.

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